44 episodes

Joy In The Journey is a podcast dedicated to supporting families with critically ill kids. Life brings unexpected circumstances, but choosing joy makes all the difference.

Your host, Jamie Freedlund, knows this better than anyone. Her world changed when her daughter, Mattea Joy, was born with several severe medical complications.

Jamie and her husband were given a very small chance that Mattea would survive at birth, but were able to share nine and a half wonderful months with her that they didn't expect to have. This experience led to a deep level of gratitude, shifting Jamie’s life as a result, and allowing her to discover joy in every day—even the tough ones.

Most of Mattea’s life was spent in the hospital. It was there that Jamie came to understand what it means to be a parent of a critically ill child and the challenges that go with it. Through this podcast, she hopes to help other families going through similar struggles. Join us on a journey of connection and learning through beautiful stories, expert content, and finding more joy in the everyday!

Joy In The Journey Jamie Freedlund

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 9 Ratings

Joy In The Journey is a podcast dedicated to supporting families with critically ill kids. Life brings unexpected circumstances, but choosing joy makes all the difference.

Your host, Jamie Freedlund, knows this better than anyone. Her world changed when her daughter, Mattea Joy, was born with several severe medical complications.

Jamie and her husband were given a very small chance that Mattea would survive at birth, but were able to share nine and a half wonderful months with her that they didn't expect to have. This experience led to a deep level of gratitude, shifting Jamie’s life as a result, and allowing her to discover joy in every day—even the tough ones.

Most of Mattea’s life was spent in the hospital. It was there that Jamie came to understand what it means to be a parent of a critically ill child and the challenges that go with it. Through this podcast, she hopes to help other families going through similar struggles. Join us on a journey of connection and learning through beautiful stories, expert content, and finding more joy in the everyday!

    Brave Hearts & Brittle Bones with Rachel Glad

    Brave Hearts & Brittle Bones with Rachel Glad

    As parents, we try to shelter our children from as much pain and danger as possible. But for a parent of a child with Brittle Bone Disease (Osteogenesis Imperfecta), even something as soft as a carpet can lead to a broken bone.
    Rachel Glad’s son, Nathan, was diagnosed at birth with a severe form of this disease, which causes him to break a bone on a monthly basis (if not more) due to his bones being extremely fragile. But his family refused to let this diagnosis stop him from finding joy in his journey. Nathan has even started a TikTok account and is a source of inspiration for thousands of people.
    Nathan doesn’t let himself be defined by his disability. Instead, he lives every day like it’s the best day ever. This family’s unbreakable spirit is an excellent example of courage, gratitude, hope, and perseverance. In this episode, Rachel shares wonderful advice on how to face the challenges life can throw at you.
    She talks about finding the courage to accept the things you cannot change, balancing a careful life with an adventurous one, helping your child heal, and finding community when challenges get too overwhelming.
    Rachel also shares great advice on educating our children and addressing those with disabilities to promote curiosity instead of avoidance.
    Her family went from being the ones asking the questions to becoming advocates and helpers for others with a disability, and Rachel is now a Parent Consultant at the Utah Parent Center (a country-wide resource designed to help parents navigate disabilities).
    Rachel’s family, especially her son Nathan, is a true testament to what it is like to have a brave heart while dealing with a difficult medical challenge like Brittle Bones Disease.
    Key Takeaways with Rachel Glad
    How to keep a positive attitude through life’s hardest challenges. The power of gratitude and appreciation for what we do have in life. Finding the courage to accept the things you cannot change. Strategies for finding community in support groups such as churches, charities, and other families. Educating children on how to ask questions and address someone in a wheelchair or with a disability. Becoming an ambassador and giving back to the community that helped you. Remembering that your child can also teach you a lot of lessons on resilience, gratitude, and strength. Filling your own cup as a caregiver, so that you have more to give to others. Nathan’s formula to feeling better: Be grateful for what you have Focus on what you can do Serve others in whatever way you can Believe that today will be the best day ever Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/44.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 39 min
    Discover Joy: Build Your Joy Muscles To Do Hard Things with Jamie Freedlund

    Discover Joy: Build Your Joy Muscles To Do Hard Things with Jamie Freedlund

    This week felt like the perfect time to share my sincere thanks and gratitude to everyone who has been a part of the podcast.
    It's been such a wild ride since I recorded the first episode. I've had the pleasure of speaking with so many amazing human beings, and it fills my cup to hear their stories and nuggets of truth and to have the privilege to share them with you.
    In this episode, I wanted to talk about how gratitude is the key to unlocking joy in your life. And if we build our "joy muscles," we'll be better prepared when we need to do the hard things, which will help cultivate our ability to discover joy more abundantly.
    One last thing: if this show resonates with you and has been helpful in any way, I'd love to hear from you. Reviews mean everything in the podcast world, so I will send a gift to the first 10 people who leave a review of this episode. You'll have your choice of a Starbucks gift card or a Mattea's Joy t-shirt. Simply send a screenshot of your review with your information to jamie@matteasjoy.org.
    Thank you, and have a joyous Thanksgiving!
    Key Takeaways with Jamie Freedlund
    The power of sharing your story and the ripple effect that it has with others who hear it. If we create systems to build our “joy muscles'', that practice helps to prepare us for when we need to do hard things. The joy that you’ll discover by creating a gratitude journal. The importance of doing things that you enjoy and creating more fun in your life. How you support the podcast with an honest review and via Patreon and the gifts that are available to the first 10 reviewers. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/43.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 18 min
    Honoring the Servant’s Heart of Family Caregivers with Kim Kane

    Honoring the Servant’s Heart of Family Caregivers with Kim Kane

    Becoming a caregiver is typically not a journey you ease into: much like the poem "Welcome To Holland" reminds us, it's often like suddenly landing in rainy Holland when you set off to vacation in sunny Italy.
    "But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland."
    And since November was recently proclaimed National Family Caregivers Month, I thought it was only fitting to invite Kim Kane to be my guest on today's episode.
    Kim is a mom to five children and walks beside her daughter Erin on her medical journey; she also cares for her mother with Alzheimer's. Kim brings a beautiful perspective of what it means to be a caregiver, how it affects your life with some great insights.
    Erin, who is now 15 years old, experienced a Hypoxic Ischemic Event which occurs when the brain experiences a decrease in oxygen or blood flow in the first week of her life. As Kim navigates life caring for a child with cerebral palsy and visual impairments, she's truly learned to not sweat the small things and make the best of what is.
    She reminds us that "every journey is easier with the right guides" and that by putting your faith in doctors and God, your journey can become a slightly lighter one. She also shares great advice on making hard and painful decisions when selecting surgeries or medical interventions for your children. And she reminds us to empower ourselves as caregivers; by remembering to fill our cups so that we have more to give out to others.
    The life of a caregiver can feel lonely, especially when you feel like you've "landed" there abruptly with no map or guidance. By reaching out to the right community and taking one step at a time, you'll be less likely to miss the joys that can be found along the way.
    Key Takeaways with Kim Kane
    Recognizing the love and sacrifice of caregivers providing crucial care to loved ones. How being a caregiver affects life as an individual, partner, and parent. Putting your faith in therapists and God during life’s hardest challenges. Advice on making hard decisions regarding your child’s medical interventions. Reminding ourselves to appreciate every day as a gift. How to “fill your cup” as a caregiver in order to have more to give to others. Remembering to celebrate the small wins The power and importance of reaching out to others and finding a community. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/42.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 26 min
    De-Stressing the NICU Experience for Parents with Dr. Bree Andrews and Dr. Joanne Lagatta

    De-Stressing the NICU Experience for Parents with Dr. Bree Andrews and Dr. Joanne Lagatta

    As a mom who has had a sick child in the NICU, and later in the follow-up clinic, I cannot imagine how different our journey would have been if I had not received the help and care that I did from Mattea’s medical team. Being in the NICU with your child can be an extremely scary experience and their support makes a world of a difference.
    It’s my pleasure to introduce you to the doctors that completely changed my experience, Dr. Bree Andrews and Dr. Joanne Lagatta. These wonderful ladies are training the next generation of “helpers” and I’m so grateful to have them talk about what caregivers can expect from their time in the NICU and follow-up clinic.
    And most importantly, how everyone in the hospital has the power to “help the helpers”. Even in situations where help is not directly offered to you: all you have to do is ask.
    Dr. Bree Andrews is a neonatologist and the Chief Wellness and Vitality Officer for University of Chicago Medicine. Her area of expertise is NICU follow-ups, where she helps families as patients head home and navigate life after the NICU.
    Dr. Joanne Lagatta is a neonatologist with a Master's Degree in Health Services Research. She especially enjoys her role in the NICU advocating for patients and families who are trying to coordinate plans between multiple healthcare providers and transitioning home from the NICU.
    Today, they’re sharing their best advice on how to feel a little more confident as a NICU caregiver, including advice for parents that don’t feel engaged with their medical team. They touch on topics like emotional depletion, being overwhelmed at the hospital, and speaking your fears out loud as a family.
    They remind us of the power of reaching out to other parents going through a similar journey, as well as sharing your accomplishments as a parent, no matter how small.
    These ladies made my experience in the hospital feel much less scary, and I hope today’s episode leaves you feeling a little more confident in your journey as a helper.
    Key Takeaways with Dr. Bree Andrews and Dr. Joanne Lagatta
    Navigating life in the NICU and follow-up clinics as a caregiver to a sick child. How everyone in the hospital is a helper, and how to ask for help if it is not directly offered to you. Transitioning home from the NICU and finding a “new normal”. Advice for parents that don’t feel engaged with their medical team. A simple reminder that medical care practitioners can’t read your mind and it’s okay to talk about your worries to show doctors your areas of concern. Finding a child life expert and how they can help you through this journey. The importance of reaching out to other parents, finding community, and celebrating the small wins. How the PreeMe+You app is helping parents be more active at the bedside. Dealing with emotional depletion and making space for your feelings. Being ready to see the good side, even when things are not going well. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/41.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 44 min
    Finding The Magic In The Mundane with Joann Martyn

    Finding The Magic In The Mundane with Joann Martyn

    When tragedy strikes, it’s normal to want to turn inwards and shut out the rest of the world. But while focusing on the challenge ahead is important, it is also important to remember to stay open to receiving medical and emotional support to care packages… and even unexpected friendships.
    When Mattea was in the NICU, and I was in the thick of adapting to this life-changing event, Joann Martyn came into my life. Her baby boy, Theo, was also in the NICU, but it was her life that had truly been at risk when a severe and rare form of preeclampsia (a hypertension disorder) threatened to take it.
    Joann is a lifelong friend of mine and a true source of inspiration. I couldn’t be happier to share her best advice on, as she puts it, “finding the magic in the mundane.” She is not only surviving the challenges life throws at us but also growing through them and thriving. Having survived a series of five brain stem strokes which have a 97% mortality rate, she is living proof of this.
    Since we met, she’s worked her way up to being the Director of Online Learning at DePaul University, where she helps her students navigate the world in really beautiful ways. And her “baby” boy, once considered a micro-preemie, is now a 5 ’11 happy and healthy 13-year-old teenager.
    Life has thrown every imaginable challenge at her, but it’s how she has mastered being present in her day-to-day life, accepting life as it happens, serving others, and letting others serve you in times of need that makes her a true force to be reckoned with.
    You’ll hear Joann’s best advice on navigating life at the hospital/NICU (for yourself or your children), finding hope and happiness through challenging times and giving yourself permission to do what you enjoy doing most.
    There’s a good chance this episode will give you the best kind of goosebumps, and I hope it lifts you up and inspires you whenever you need a boost.
    Key Takeaways with Joann Martyn
    How the hardest days of your life can leave you with important lifelong lessons, and even friendships. Tips for navigating life in the NICU, especially while holding a full-time job or parenting other children. Letting go of birth plans and expectations through pregnancy complications. The importance of opening yourself up to receiving help when needed, and how it can teach you to serve others even better. How to accept each day as it comes, and be grateful and present when possible. Advice on giving yourself permission to do what you enjoy most, from someone who has had several near-death experiences. Romanticizing your life to make the best out of your ordinary daily routines. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/40.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 40 min
    Helping Parents to Choreograph Their Own Family-Centered Journey with Jenny Berchtold

    Helping Parents to Choreograph Their Own Family-Centered Journey with Jenny Berchtold

    As a parent of a child facing a medical challenge, it can be tempting to try to put on as many hats as possible: mom/dad, caregiver, nurse, and sometimes even a medical expert.
    We often hear doctors ask patients not to Google a diagnosis, but seeking out as much information as possible in the face of a challenge can feel like regaining some control. However, the problem is that carrying all this information can take parents away from their primary role of just being parents.
    That’s why Family-Centered Care, an approach that aims to help parents feel supported and empowered throughout their family’s medical journey, is so important.
    I’m delighted to introduce you to Jenny Berchtold. Jenny is a certified Child Life Specialist with a master’s degree in Child Development and a specialization in infancy. Jenny has worked in the NICU but has since taken her passion to the Erikson Institute, a graduate school in child development, and is doing what she loves most. She is preparing the next generation of Child Life Specialists to advocate for kids in the NICU and amplify their voices when they don’t have one.
    But her experience doesn’t end there: Jenny’s youngest son, Evan, faced his own challenge with the discovery of a “dot” on his cheek, which proved to be an extremely rare and aggressive tumor. Thankfully, it has since been successfully surgically removed and is being carefully monitored. She knows firsthand the challenges of balancing your child’s medical needs with “just” being present as a parent.
    Jenny shares her best advice with us: find a medical team that you trust wholeheartedly so you can let go of some “control” and always know that the medical teams and hospital staff are there to help you so that you can be present for your kiddo.
    Her advice is empowering, and I hope you find as much guidance and comfort in her words as I did today.
    Key Takeaways with Jenny Berchtold
    What Family-Centered Care is and why Jenny is so passionate about it. Understanding that the medical teams are only a small part of a family’s life journey and that they’re only there to help make a positive impact. How it’s okay to let go of some control and trust your child’s medical team. When hospital staff ask parents how they're doing, they’re actually hoping for and expecting an honest answer as they only want to help. How much better it is for parents to prepare to ask the right questions instead of researching everything on their own. How removing the word “just” from those little requests that we all make everyday can make a huge difference. The importance of letting go of guilt as a parent when you feel like you can’t do it all and that it’s okay to ask for help. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/39.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

fmasri3 ,

Realistic Podcast

Such a good podcast that discusses such important topics in today’s society. I loved when Jamie talked about gratitude and giving. We should not only give during this time of the year, it should be something we do all year long to show gratitude and “unlocking joy” just as Jamie says!

Joy NH ,

Pulls you in and touches your heart

Jamie is a person that allows everyone to feel comfortable and exhale in her presence. Her Podcasts are full of love, encouragement and raw emotion. If you are in the middle of one of life’s storms, I promise you will know you are not alone and a feel a sense of hope after listening.

jenny kernan ,

Healing & touching podcast

This podcast is beautiful. The host has a way of drawing out meaningful and insightful lessons from her guests. Wonderfully done!

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